Wallstock Saved! National Lawyers Guild Observer’s Toes—Not So Much

Cool Fuzzies
It was looking like it might turn ugly down at Zucotti/Liberty Park . Last night, Mayor Bloomberg and colorful tough-guy mayoral hopeful Commissioner Kelly  had seemingly acceded to Brookfield Properties’ silkily disingenuous plea to be allowed to power-wash the park and save these DHFs from possible electrocution by the underground lighting system:

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“For example, if the lenses to the underground lighting have become cracked, water could infiltrate the electrical system, putting occupants of the Park at risk of an electrical hazard or causing short-circuiting which would result in repairs requiring the Park to be torn apart for re-wiring. Any such repairs would force the Park to be closed to the public for indeterminate periods of time, depriving the City of a vital green space.”

(This elicited chortling from our resident Electro-magical energy expert, StrangeAppar8us, who pointed out that Brookfield must have quite a liability problem if public use of a public park was such a hazard). 

Yesterday, I had a sinking feeling as the city’s 7AM deadline drew near, not the least because Mr. Polly fully supports OWS and did indeed get up and go down to the park with the intention of getting arrested, at an hour when sensible Pollys were entirely insensible. He’d already heard over the radio that Brookfield and the Mayor’s office were reconsidering, and he was there when, via “Human Microphone,” the crowd learned that the cleaning had been postponed.

Some jubilant chants of “The people! United! Will never be defeated!” and et cetera, and Mr. Polly took himself home, while a group of protesters decided to “clean up Wall Street” and one National Lawyer’s Guild observer got to clean it up the hard way, being knocked down and apparently run over a little by a police scooter. He’s under arrest, naturally. Serving as a speed bump for the NYPD is kind of an “Obstruction of Governmental Administration,” where “Governmental Administration” is done with 3.5” radials.

Whether the legal observer—someone who is distinctly not a protester, as distinguished by the bright green Legal Observer cap—deliberately stuck his leg under the scooter to make the NYPD look bad should shortly be making the Wingnut rounds. No word as yet on the extent of Ari Douglas’s injuries.

Posted by Mrs. Polly on 10/14/11 at 06:30 PM • Permalink

Categories: New York CityNewsPolitics

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If they had been removed, couldn’t they have sued? Whatever happened to non-violent gatherings being legal? Seems there’s been a war on that of late, and the OWS is only making that more clear.

Time and place restrictions have always been considered constitutional.  The plaintiff would have to prove that the restrictions on using the park were 1)unreasonable and 2) based on the content of the speech being practiced. 

If the park is indeed actually cleaned on a regular basis, it would be difficult to make any kind of case.  More importantly though, you would be making that case four or five years from now when it finally got to a judge.

One of the Brookfield security guards told me, “If Giuliani had been mayor, none of this would have happened.” Which is certainly true; Rudy would have swept them out, taken the legal hit if any, and even if ruled against, ignored the ruling, as New York (ETA: artists selling on the street) found out when their wares were repeatedly impounded even after getting a ruling in their favor, a ruling that never seemed to reach the ears of the local precinct cops.

The protesters might be able to argue that there were no restrictions against their sleeping bags and so on initially; Brookfield printed up new, protester-specific signs, hysterically cheap and Post-It like, and smacked them up around the park a couple of days after the occupation began.

Is it fair for owners to make up new rules ex-post-facto? Maybe.

I can tell you that I live in the area, and, aside from eating lunch on nice days, almost nobody really used that park at other hours of the day, except to walk through. And skateboarders, who ironically aren’t able to damage the stone benches and curbs because of all the protesters.

one National Lawyer’s Guild observer got to clean it up the hard way, being knocked down and apparently run over a little by a police scooter. He’s under arrest, naturally.

File under bad ideas that will haunt the city for years to come.

The perfect post-modern protest.  Unlike the 60s, this protest has been deconstructed to avoid the flaw of an objective.

As Gertrude Stein once mused as she gazed over Oakland, California, “There is no there there.”

As Mittens has been known to remark, Amherst,“nice try.” But these protesters, though they range from Paulbots to Soshulists, concur on a couple of key points, to which they’ve managed to draw attention very effectively: that unregulated, crazy, greedy Wall Street speculation destabilized our (and the world’s) economy,  and that that the perpetrators have made out like bandits while 99% of the country is suffering.

Oh, and end capitalism, the Fed, and mean people, also, too. Paulbots abstaining.

Actually, Mrs. Polly, the Paulbots and the Soshulists do not agree on that.  They agree that Wall Street went too far, but one wants to remedy that through stricter regulation and oversight; the other thinks the answer is achieving competitive markets through laissez-faire economics, regressive taxation, and letting the Unseen Mover create balance and stability.

This leads to another divergent point:  the left thinks Wall Street is to blame and has too much influence over government.  This is certainly true.  The Paulbots, Glibertarians, and assorted Randian Clown Car Riders feel that government interference in Wall Street is to blame.  So, yes, in a sense they do agree on the problem, they just come at from completely different angles.  They are ideologically incompatible when it comes to the solution.

I agree that they’ve helped refocus the debate back on Wall Street’s shady dealings.  But at some point, there has to be a political component to this (you can’t change the political system—corporate influence in government—without becoming politically engaged).  It’s cool if OWS doesn’t want that, in which case, the best hope is that mainstream Americans are moved to enact a political solution themselves.

Unlike the 60s, this protest has been deconstructed to avoid the flaw of an objective.

According to my mom, who was in the thick of them, the protests in the 60s were similarly unfocused. Common themes emerged (stop the war, end poverty, impeach Johnson, impeach Nixon, women’s rights, black power, free love!), but like any large undertaking involving masses of people, there were competing agendas and even incoherence.

The important thing is a movement’s power to change the national conversation. Heck, look at the Tea Party, the GOP base-rebranding effort whose main focus was complaining about historically low tax rates. That pathetic Astroturf assemblage managed to engineer the first downgrade of US credit and render our government incapable of responding effectively to a global economic crisis. Who says a bunch of ninnies can’t change the world?

I say godspeed to the #OCCUPY movement. Finally we’re seeing politicians and even the mainstream media bringing up the topic of Gilded Age levels of wealth inequality, which some of us have been yammering about for years now.

Allegedly at one university in the 1960s (I think it was the University of Kansas), the same person was the chair of the chapters of Students for a Democratic Society and Young Americans for Freedom.  I think that’s a pretty good indicator of how confused sixties protest could be.

Allegedly at one university in the 1960s (I think it was the University of Kansas), the same person was the chair of the chapters of Students for a Democratic Society and Young Americans for Freedom.  I think that’s a pretty good indicator of how confused sixties protest could be.

Or an example of good old-fashioned entryism; the question being, of course, which group was being destroyed from within?

I say godspeed to the #OCCUPY movement

Agreed.  Plus 2 puma bloggers (I won’t link to them), let’s call them Smurfy and Peatrod, hate the #Occupy movement.  They’ve attacked them as “misogynists” and a “front” for the Obama campaign.

So when you piss off scumbags like that, you must be doing something right.

@jay: point taken about the Pauliacs’ belief in laissez-faire alchemy; I should have left out “unregulated.”

If ever there was a movement that inspired Venn diagrams, this is it, and Dave Weigel came up with a good one.

I agree with Betty about the lack of specific focus being a feature of 60’s protests as well. Other than “end the war,” they were an agglomeration of causes which often didn’t get along. I think lack of specific demands is a feature, not a bug, of the OWS movement.

@Jason, I’d forgotten about Smurfy! The protesters include some who dare to question the Likkud Govt’s treatment of Palestinians, so I guess she’s suffering from Muslim Derangement Syndrome as well as her usual OBS. The president is not the most popular guy with the protesters; I’ve seen several NOBAMA shirts, and no PROBAMA shirts.

I did talk to one lovely guy carrying a pro-Obama sign; a fiftyish black gentleman whose sign read:

O  rganizing
B  eautiful
A  merica
M  (something)
A  (something)


Apologies for my bad memory, but the gentleman did explain to me that Barack Obama was born to lead the country, that you could see it just from looking at his name, why look at the number of letters in it! It was his destiny! And Beautiful Michelle was born to be his consort!

And so the only outright fellow Obot I found was sweetly, incontestably, nuts.

I love the protesters for the energy they’ve injected into the left, and the discomfiture they’re causing the right. Even though I’ve spent the last few years mocking unicorn-lovers, and OWS is Unicorn Central.

Peatrod’s throaty cries of “Misogyny!” are music to the ears. What a Crawhole.

I agree with Betty about the lack of specific focus being a feature of 60’s protests as well.

My dad was a university professor in those days and encountered a lot of this. He was generally on the protestor’s side, but the way he put it was that “a million people rose up in anger… about a million different things.”

...the protests in the 60s were similarly unfocused.

Show me a protest movement that has even 65% coherency of messaging and goals from the outset and I’ll show you bunch of heavily-controlled zealots. (Cough ~ TeaBaghists ~ Cough.) Run. Away.

But it’s all good. The media-reported reactions: The grunts of ReaLAMErican* disgust at the disorderly miscreants, the weary sighs of ennui with the whole silly mess, the bleating cries of the concern trolls who just can’t tell why those people are so angry and what they want, the Benedict Arnolds who eagerly chirp that everything is just dandy and can’t understand what the fuss is all about, these are all signs history is repeating herself.

If any of the corporate pigs have studied the history of social movements, they’re feeling a tad nervous and pining for the days when Pinkerton’s employees protected cash in a more direct and hands-on way.

*A little less than 300 years ago this would have been RealColonist disgust.

You know, there may be some value in the protestors calling attention to the corruption on Wall Street:

Of course most of us got that message with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns and the others.  Now many people on Wall Street have had to take salary cuts just to work there.  But despite this truth the biggest story relative to the global market place lies outside the United States.

The EU has been propping up Greece in order to buy time for European financial interests to build a firewall between themselves and the inevitable collapse of Greece when they finally let Greece go under— Greek bonds, Greek stocks, insulation from loans to Greece, etc., etc.

After Europe feels assured it has protected itself as much as it can from the inevitable collapse of Greece, they will withdraw their assistance.  At that juncture there is the possibility, at least, that stock markets could collapse.  An apocalyptic scenario, but still one that is not unlikely.

As this goes on, Greek government labor unions are still screaming that they do not want their compensation reduced any further. Most of the countries in the EU could not care less what Greek labor unions think, and EU countries’ constituents are screaming to stop propping up Greece at their expense.

Greece has had a card to play because if they collapse they could take the EU with them, which is why other European countries are using this time to build a firewall.

Here in the US we have been propping up European banks through huge contributions to the IMF.  Essentially we do this in order for EU banks to pay us back the money they owe us.  As long as they are making payments to us we are able to certify that the European banks are solvent, and therefore not in bankruptcy.

Our problem is that so much of our GDP is presently going to pay interest on bonds purchased by other countries, we might have to forestall a measure of payments to the IMF.  And should our own debt be so substantial that we cannot fund the IMF, then many EU banks will default and that could drag the rest of the world into a new global depression.

The OWS protestors should be concentrating pressure on politicians in Washington DC who crafted laws and regulations that made it possible for Wall street companies to practice quasi-legal corruption. 

And regarding the 60s, the civil rights struggle was very focused.  Also the anti-war movement was very focused and only ended when the US govt stopped the draft. Then people previously protesting on principle found the Vietnam War less of a consternation.

As Candidate Obama remarked about John McCain’s economic posturings, no reason why we can’t multitask. There’s plenty of OWS condemnation for politicians, certainly. I just notice that the conservative line is to try shifting attention from the corporations who bought them.

Someone please check on Amherst. His sauce is unusually weak today.

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